Local search is a quickly evolving game and there are more and more great resources available to those of us focusing on it. The goal of compiling this list is to help some veterans find a new tool they may have missed or give newbies a starting point to some of the best local search resources available today. Please share additional tools, blogs, resources, etc. that are exclusive to local search in the comments below!

 

The Mothership:

Local Search Ranking Factors - The first and most important resource anyone needs to read about local search is David Mihm's compilation of industry experts' feedback on local search ranking factors. Read it, study it, use it!

 

Local Search Legends/Blogs:

 

Local Search Tools:

  • Local Citation Finder - You can't blog on Whitespark's blog and leave out their Local Citation Finder, right? Honestly though, this is one of the most useful local search tools available today. We all know citations are a huge ranking factor - here's the best way to find some citation opportunities.
  • GetListed.org - With GetListed.org, you can very quickly get a feel for where you're listed, where you aren't listed and how you can improve your listings. It's a great start for a business owner or consultant.
  • Mike Blumenthal's Category Tool - Helps you pick the right categories for your Google+ Local page. Essential! (suggested by Darren Shaw)
  • Geositemap Generator - This tool does 3-in-1: create a geositemap, KML file AND the schema markup for local businesses. There are other similar tools out there but this one does it all and keeps it simple. If there are others you like, drop a link in the comments.
  • Local Search Toolkit - This tool pulls in data for a given keyword to help you speed up your analysis and compare # of reviews, owner verified status and other factors. Guessing it's broken since the release of Google+ Local...
  • Local Keyword Research Tool - This tool will help you generate ideas for keywords/search terms that you want your website to rank for. Enter one Geographical Modifier/Core Term per line and click Generate Keywords. (suggested by Darren Shaw)

 

Conferences & Training:

 

Listings You Should Own & Maintain:

The sites below are big from a local search ranking perspective but they are sites that potential customers also use to find new businesses. Claim, optimize and keep your listing up to date on these sites. (Prepare for a flood of Yellow Page sales calls if you sign up on all of these - everything from directory advertising to phone book advertising to call tracking. You've been warned.)

 

Data Aggregators You Should Submit to:

Many yellow page directories and niche directories use data from one of these 3 sources to build out their sites. Make sure your business data is accurate and up to date with the following aggregators.

Milkmen.com has great write ups on how to submit to Localeze, InfoUSA and Acxiom.

 

Local Search Groups/Organizations

 

What are your favorite local search tools, blogs and other resources? Please share yours in the comments. We'll continue to update this post as resources come in!

 

About the Author:
Bryan Phelps is Director of SEO for SEO.com, specializing in local SEO services. SEO.com provides organic search services for a wide variety of businesses including large enterprises and small to medium sized businesses.